Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oregon Public Health Association Conference

This week is full of new adventures.  For the past 10 months I’ve been working with a group of library staff to develop the library’s strategic plan.  This task force is hosting a major event this week to bring all of our sources of data related to strategic planning together with the staff that will be implementing the plan to develop our priorities and objectives moving forward.  In addition, I am going to down to Chemeketa Community College for a DAS training webinar.  And that is not the sum total of cool things that have happened already.  On Monday I presented a poster on our LSTA grant to digitize and make available records and materials related to the growth and development of public health in Oregon.  This was suggested to me by Dr. Ken Rosenberg at the State of Oregon as a great method for engaging the primary audiences for this project, letting them know what we are up to, and solicit any feedback if possible.

Monday I went down to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.  I was lucky enough to be traveling with a Senior Analyst for the State of Oregon, Oregon Health Authority who helped me navigate the conference and introduced me to her colleagues in the profession.
The Archivist
Being an archivist, many of these sessions were a little cerebral for me.  I went to a session on data analysis related to immunization records (hey, they mentioned records, so I figured I would have some mental hooks for this one), especially how those records become fragmented, incomplete, or just stop.  Additionally, the presenters discussed how to reduce redundancy in the data through a few refining and matching software packages.  Next up a member of the State of Oregon Vital Statistics group presented their new vital statistics maps that are online and cover the years 2007-2014.  Lastly, I saw an officer from the Indian Health Service discuss how to break the 70% immunization threshold (70% is the bare minimum of immunized individuals in a group before the immunities effect herd immunity).  Great stuff, especially because it gave me a better idea of the types of data public health people work with and how.  This fits into understanding our user community for this grant.  One thing we want to consider at each step is exactly how will this information be used, by whom, and under what conditions.  Answers to these questions help us produce a deliverable that meets patron/user expectations.
The Poster
The posters were set up at around 2pm and the official poster session period was from 4pm-6pm.  Having left the house at 6:30 that morning, it was promising to be a long day.
The visitors to my poster were great.  I met with educators who were interested in using the data in their courses as teaching aids.  I met with epidemiologists who thought the project was interesting and had not considered how they could use legacy data in their regular work.  I met with a gentleman who worked with engineers and thought there was a compelling solution for some OCR issues in calling IBM and discussing how some of the materials might have been created with older IBM products.
The Archivist with The Poster
Overall, it was an excellent outreach opportunity in which I could really talk with people about their interest in the project and hear about where the project might have a real impact in how they do certain tasks.

There will be more blog posts about this project as we develop our pilot site and proceed forward in the work.